Panoramas!

Since the Facebook albums linked to in my previous post are essentially useless for viewing panoramas (because they come out so tiny you can’t see anything), here are some panoramas from last week. Click on the image to see a larger version. My favorite photos from each location are forthcoming in future posts and I might be able to put together a video slideshow with short clips if I find some time in the next couple weeks.

Stump Beach Cove, Salt Point State Park

View near Dad O'Rourke's Bench, Mount Tamalpais State Park

Mount Tamalpais sunet, Windy Hill, and Sanborn Park panoramas after the jump!

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Sunset

On my run at Pescadero County Park I noticed that a layer of clouds had formed over the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains but it was still sunny out near the Ocean. I knew there would be potential for some great evening light as the sun set underneath the layer of low clouds. Fortunately, my hope and predictions came true as I drove up Alpine Road. I stopped to take these photographs near Alpine Road in Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve and also at Vista Point/Borel Hill.

Gorgeous layers

Gorgeous layers

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Catching up on sleep!

It has been nine days since I returned form Colorado and the TransRockies run with an interesting recovery. 113 intense miles over six days was a weekly mileage PR by about 25 miles so I knew I would be dealing with some fatigue. However, the source of even greater lethargy was the lack of sleep compounded over an entire week in Colorado. Over the course of seven nights in Colorado, I slept no more than 35 hours total (5 hours per night) and that is being generous. Here are some reasons why a peaceful, fullfilling night of sleep was impossible to achieve:

  • Altitude: Particularly on the first night, I found that it’s not as easy to sleep at 9,000 feet coming straight from sea level
  • Thirst: Very dry air in Colorado made my mouth dry and lips chapped keeping me reaching for the water bottle
  • Zippers: Constant opening and closing of zippers on people’s tents; between 200+ tents somebody, somewhere was getting up to go to the bathroom.
  • Snoring: One night I was situated next to an epic snorer that sounded like he was starting up a chainsaw. I made sure to let him know he had some serious issues the next day and suggested he move his tent far way into the meadows. I ended up moving far away from him.
  • Semi Trucks: The grand finale was the Ford Park camp in Vail which was no more than 100 meters away from Interstate 70 where semis blasted through at 70 mph at all hours of the night.
  • Humping (?): I also heard that some people’s sleep was interfered by “intimate” noises, but fortunately I was not subject to this. I would have heckled and shouted this couple down if I had heard it. By that point I had lost patience with riff raff going on at night.

As you can see, sleep was a luxery I simply did not enjoy on the TransRockies. Somehow I pushed through the sleep deprivation (I might have been a bit cranky) on the trip, but it caught up with me when I returned to CA and for many days I had a general feeling of tiredness. I was hoping to get out to the high Sierra on this holiday weekend, but couldn’t muster the enthusiasm for a long mountain run, let alone the drive to get there. The lack of sleep, combined with the expected fatigue from the high volume, has led to a mixed bag of training. On some days I simply feel like crap, and on other days I feel great. I’m hoping the big week of running in Colorado will pay dividends soon. I’m also excited to do some adventure runs in the high Sierra in late September, hopefully coinciding with the famous fall colors.

There are tons of deer all over the San Carlos hills and all the places I run at in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Here is a phot of a large buck right next to my place. He was sitting in the shade directly underneath my dining room window and I noticed the antlers. I shot this photo as he was walking away. I’ve also seen numerous fawns on the trail runs.

Big Buck in the San Carlos Hills

Big Buck in the San Carlos Hills

Yosemite Part II

Before heading to bed, I snapped a few photographs of evening light on Half Dome a few steps from the tent. We were awoken in the morning by a bear roaming through camp. The bear meandered and then walked off after finding no food. We saw the value of the bear boxes in keeping the bears wild.  I then went on a 13+ mile run on the Yosemite Valley Loop Trail, running by famous sites like Mirror Lake, Yosemite Falls, and El Capitan. After the run, we packed up and did a tour of the meadows followed by a walk of Lower Yosemite Falls. It was a gorgeous morning! See the complete photo album from the trip here.

Yosemite Falls from the swinging bridge

Yosemite Falls from the swinging bridge

Meadows

Reflective Meadows

El Capitan

El Capitan

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Yosemite Part I

Serena and I visited the iconic Yosemite Valley on Memorial Day and camped overnight at the Lower Pines campground. We enjoyed a spectacular hike of Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls and toured the sights of the valley. I also ran the 13 mile Yosemite Valley Loop Trail. This was Serena’s first visit to Yosemite Valley and she was amazed at the incredible scenery. I have been to the Valley several times but I am still amazed every time :)  See the complete photo album from the trip here and Part II of the trip.

Vernal Falls

Vernal Falls

Serena on top of Nevada Falls

Serena on top of Nevada Falls

Half Dome, Mt Broderick, and Liberty Cap

Half Dome, Mt Broderick, and Liberty Cap

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Point Reyes – Headlands

After the trail run through Bear Valley, we drove to the northern portion of Point Reyes National Seashore, which is drastically different from the southern portion. There is no forest and the hills are much smaller. A significant portion of the area near Drakes Bay is a saltwater estuary and marsh. At over 10 miles long, the Pt. Reyes Beach (aka the Great Beach) is an incredible expanse of uninterrupted sand and waves. At the tip of the headlands is the famous Pt. Reyes Lighthouse and the Chimney Rock Area with one of the largest colonies of Northern Elephant Seals resident on the beaches. The headlands area is also home to several historic dairy farm ranches that are still operational to this day. There are literally thousands of happy dairy cows roaming around. Finally the rugged Tomales Point is home to the famous Tule Elk Herd.  This time we explored the Chimney Rock area, the lighthouse, and Pt. Reyes Beach. Next time we will come back to check out Drakes Bay and Tomales Point – there is so much to see.

The Great Beach

The Great Beach

Sunset

Sunset

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Beautiful Bay Area Gallery

I have accumulated enough nice photos from my trail runs around the Bay Area to create a photo gallery! If you follow my blog these pictures should be familiar, but it always looks different when placed in a compilation format. I hope to someday create region-specific galleries for the Peninsula, Marin County, East Bay, Big Sur, Mendocino, Redwood Coast, and other places I visit. In the mean time, most of the photos in this first gallery are from the Peninsula. All of the thumbnails can be expanded to full size. Comments, suggestions, and tips are appreciated. Enjoy!

Sunset from Borel Hill

Sunset from Borel Hill

Ano Nuevo Elephant Seals

A few weeks ago we went to sea the largest breeding colony of northern elephant seals in the world at Ano Nuevo State Reserve along the San Mateo coastline. The breeding season begins in the end of December and lasts through mid-March with the peak between the last week of January and first week of February. We were lucky to join a docent-led tour of the colony on a warm and sunny winter day. It was amazing to see the thousands of seals packed on the beach, including hundreds of seal pups! The guides are also highly knowledgeable providing interesting details about elephant seal behavior and the history of Ano Nuevo.

A young seal

A young seal

The setting from Ano Nuevo Point

The setting from Ano Nuevo Point

Elephant Seal colony

Elephant Seal colony

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